There is a very strong likelihood that you will be involved in the probate of an estate at some point in your life. You might find yourself involved in the probate process because you were named as the Executor of an estate or because you volunteered to oversee the administration of an intestate estate. You might also be involved in the probate of an estate as a beneficiary, heir, or even creditor of an estate. Regardless of the reason for your involvement in the probate process, you will undoubtedly have a number of questions about the process when the time comes. If that time is now, and you find yourself immersed in the Beverly probate process, you probably want to know how long it will likely take to complete the probate of the estate. Because of the individualized nature of the probate process it is impossible to tell you how long it will take to probate a specific estate; however, a better understanding of the factors that typically impact the time it takes to get through the probate process may give you some idea of how long it will take in your case.
Does the Estate Require Formal Probate?
One of the biggest factors in deciding how long the Beverly probate process will take is whether or not the estate requires formal probate. If an estate qualifies for a small estate alternative to formal probate, the amount of time it takes the estate to get through the probate process will be drastically reduced. If the estate must use the formal probate process, it will take a minimum of one year to get through the process because that is how long creditors of the estate have to file claims against the estate.
What Type of Assets Are Involved?
The type of assets involved in the estate will also affect how long the probate process takes. First, all estate assets must be classified as either probate or non-probate assets. Probate assets are required to go through the probate process whereas non-probate assets bypass the probate process and are transferred outside of probate. The more probate assets involved, the longer it may take to probate the estate. The value and complexity of the assets is also relevant. An estate that is made up of complex business interests or that includes numerous real property assets may take longer to probate than an estate that includes nothing more than bank accounts and a residence.
Does Anyone Challenge the Will?
One thing that is certain to hold up the Beverly probate process is a Will contest. If someone files a Will contest alleging that the Last Will and Testament submitted to the court for probate is not valid, the entire probate process effectively comes to a halt while the contest is litigated. The probate process must wait because the outcome of the litigation will determine how the estate is probated. If the Will is declared valid, probate will continue using the Will to determine what happens to estate assets. If the contestant is successful, and the Will is declared invalid, the court must look for another valid Will to use to probate the estate or must turn to the Massachusetts intestate succession laws to decide how the estate is distributed.
Who Is Administering the Estate?
When a testator creates a Last Will and Testament one of the decisions that must be made is who to appoint as the Executor of the Will. People often make the mistake of simply appointing a spouse, parent, or friend as the Executor without giving the matter much thought. What they don’t realize is that the Executor of an estate can greatly increase the efficiency with which the estate process is completed, saving the estate and the beneficiaries time and money. Conversely, the wrong Executor can cost the estate and the beneficiaries a great deal of time and money if he or she lacks the experience and skills to necessary to efficiently move the estate through the probate process. In addition, the probate process almost always runs smoother when the Executor hires an experienced estate planning attorney to assist throughout the process.
If you have additional questions or concerns regarding the Beverly probate process, contact the experienced Massachusetts estate planning attorneys at DeBruyckere Law Offices by calling (603) 894-4141 or (978) 969-0331 to schedule an appointment.